Acid Reflux In Infants
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux describes when we spit up our food from the stomach. This is quite common when you eat too much or some food doesn’t agree with you. Because the stomach has acids in it, when we spit up food it’s called acid reflux.
Acid reflux in infants is also quite common and they can have milk spit up through the mouth or nose. This normal reflux isn’t usually long term, nor does it carry any complications with it and doesn’t normally bother the baby too much.
There are however some infants that can develop a more serious case of acid reflux. When this happens it’s called acid reflux disease or GERD and can cause spitting up blood, develop recurrent pneumonia, cause the baby to be irritable and have slower weight-gain. The good news is that most will improve as they grow.
The normal and uncomplicated acid reflux in infants can commonly happen from birth to the first few months, with about half of all babies experiencing at least one reflux a day. Doctors say that this type of occurrence is normal and doesn’t require testing. Only if the symptoms become worse or happen for the first time after the baby is older than 6 months, or symptoms don’t improve by 18 to 24 months should there be concern.
For the small number of infants who do experience the more serious GERD, there will be much more irritation and even damage to the tissue of the esophagus.
Signs of acid reflux in infants
Signs an infant may have GERD can include refusing to eat, arching the neck and back as if in pain, frequent coughing, not gaining sufficient weight, projectile vomiting, and choking when spitting up food.
Since a baby does cry for more reasons, it is sometimes difficult to know if it’s because of acid reflux but usually tending to their needs such as hunger, wet diaper etc will usually console them and therefore stop the crying. If there is a greater concern parents should see their healthcare specialist.
It’s also good to note that normal acid reflux in infants doesn’t usually cause pain so therefore is not the cause for prolonged irritability or for difficulty in sleeping.
Related article: Acid reflux in pregnancy